El Monstero | A Holiday Tradition

prof_el-monstero_sm.jpgThe show grows more each year, but it is still all-local talent.

It’s the holiday season again, and if you’ve had your fill of chaotic shopping, hanging lights in the freezing cold and listening to your weird uncle’s war stories for the umpteenth time, you’re in luck. El Monstero’s Pink Floyd Tribute will once again refresh your soul after all the less-enjoyable aspects of the season have broken you down. The epic stage presentation has expanded its run at The Pageant to six nights this year, beginning on Friday, December 18.

We recently asked El Monstero’s masked mastermind Kevin Gagnepain about this rockin’ tradition.

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For those who don’t know, how did El Monstero get started?

KG: It originally began as a side project for my band Stir while we waited for Capitol Records to release Holy Dogs, our second record. We played covers in Lone Ranger-type masks and had Mark Quinn as a singer; -we were his backup band. We finished every night with a medley of Floyd tunes. Towards the end of the year, we decided to do an entire evening of Floyd music and it grew from there.

Who is involved with the band now?

KG: Mark Thomas Quinn is still on vocals; Jimmy Griffin from King of the Hill and The Incurables is also on vocals and guitar. John Pessoni from The Urge and Stir is on drums. Bill Reiter from The Urge is on keyboards. Jake Elking from Buz and Dual Boot is on keyboards. Bryan Greene from the Wyld Stallions is on guitar. Dave Farver from American Greed and Kingpin is on sax. Kelly Wild from Trixie Delight is on background vocals along with Erminie Cannon and Tandra Williams. There are other cast members and vocalists who join us each night.

How has the show evolved over the last ten years?

KG: It has grown from one night at Mississippi Nights to six nights at The Pageant. It has gone from a homegrown production to a world-class production featuring the best sound, lighting, pyro and lasers, all from the St. Louis area. The show features the leading video and audio production people in St. Louis. The show grows more each year, but it is still all-local talent.

Why is this just an annual event instead of a regular gig?

KG: The show is too big in scope to easily take on the road. Because all of the people involved are working musicians, the logistics of tour planning make it nearly impossible. We have performed this show in a few other cities, but we all have other commitments that keep this from becoming a full time gig.

Pink Floyd is not an easy band to emulate. Are there any Floyd tunes that you have been unable to pull off, or any that were particularly tricky to work up?

KG: We have never dropped a song because we couldn’t work it up. We have, however, dropped a few songs that didn’t work as well in a live presentation as they do on a recording. We try to emulate the recordings as much as possible, but we do occasionally take a few liberties in how we present the songs live. When we do take "artistic license," we try to stay true to both the song and the spirit of Pink Floyd’s music.

What are the biggest challenges in outdoing yourselves each year?

KG: Budget. We’ve tried to keep ticket prices as low as possible, and in doing so, we are forced to make decisions that I wish we didn’t have to make. The music of Floyd is so theatrical in itself that there are always new ideas to bring to the visual elements of the show.

Anything in particular fans should look forward to this year?

KG: A great holiday tradition. The rest you will have to come see and hear for yourself. | Corey Woodruff

 

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